Ice Hockey: Devilish job for Racers

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The Independent Online
TWO defeats for Murrayfield Racers over the weekend coupled with a win for Cardiff Devils saw the Welsh side go six points clear of the Scots at the top of the Heineken Premier Division with two games in hand and the finishing post in sight.

Devils have 14 games left to Racers' 12 and the gap now looks too much. Racers' first fall was at Nottingham Panthers, a team rapidly reviving under their new coach, Kevin Murphy. The secret of their 10-4 win was twofold. The defender Randall Weber kept a close check on Tony Hand, the League's leading scorer, while Murphy's confidence in a new line of young British players that includes Marc Twaite and Matt Trickett means the older players are given a longer breathing space.

Whitley's 11-4 demolition of Murrayfield had more to do with the Warriors regaining their early season form, Scott Morrison and Claude Dumas scoring four goals and three respectively.

Devils lined up against Peterborough Pirates without the injured Shannon Hope and the suspended Nicky Chinn and Derek King. They also lost the defender Paul Heavey with a broken jaw in the first minute. But Pirates were also missing Cam Plante, who was hurt the last time the teams met, and when Trent Caese, their second import, left the ice injured at the end of the second period, Devils' 15-6 win was a formality.

In the First Division, Basingstoke Beavers beat Lee Valley Lions 27-2 to stay top and if there is a shell-shocked goalminder in Britain, it has to be James Grindlay. He faced 106 shots in the match, taking the total aimed at him to over 1,000 in 21 games, in which he has conceded 291 goals. The following day, Romford Raiders shot another 55 in his direction to win 13-4. At least he is getting a lot of valuable experience.

Guildford's new rink finally opened on Saturday and a capacity crowd of 2,500 saw the Flames, who have played all their previous games away, baptise their new home with a 13-3 defeat of Stevenage Sharks. The victory was Guildford's 13th unbeaten League game.

Results, Sport in Short, page 29